Archives for April 2008

2008 Komen Race For The Cure Results

Posted on 4/26/2008 to Health and Fitness

Julie and I ran the Tarrant County Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure this morning. Since we raced the Fort Worth Zoo Run Run last weekend, our plan was to run together, and just see what we could do. That plan was put in doubt Thursday night after I strained my right hip flexor doing intervals. It didn't start hurting until I was doing my cool down, and I was barely able to walk enough to cool down. I was not hopeful, to say the least. However, after ice and rest, it felt good this morning, and I planned to race, pending how it felt after warming up and stretching.

We arrived downtown and had our timing chips by 7:30 AM, leaving about 30 minutes for a good warm up and stretch, and to see how my hip flexor was going to feel. After a light jog, some strides, and then thorough stretching, we were ready to go, my hip flexor included.

We hopped into the competitive 5K starting area, and ran into Julie's former MBA classmate, Ron, and his wife, Tiffany. They were grouped into the 10:00/mile, yet weren't too far back from the start, so we stayed with them. Tiffany recently completed the Cowtown Marathon (I think her first full), and Ron the Cowtown Half, so I was hitting them up for some training tips as we awaited the starting gun.

Once the gun went off, we made our way to the starting line, and then we were off. The first mile was a slight downhill, and we focused on settling into a nice pace--not too fast, because of the killer uphill 3rd mile, but not too slow, as we wanted to take advantage of the slight downhill. Mile one was clocked at 9:04, not bad, but not quite as quick as we could've gone.

With mile 2 we started into the first couple of uphill sections, but they were at least followed by decent downhill sections, so that we could make up some time. We ran mile 2 in 8:54. Not bad at all, and definitely feeling strong. But that was about too change.

Mile 3 was almost all uphill. It wasn't fun, but we charged on. About halfway up the hill, I actually started to feel good--not quite like a second wind, but definitely not as tired as I had been. We finished mile 3 in 9:48, and then the final .1 mile in 54 seconds (at a 7:43/mile pace), with Julie half a step ahead of me.

My Garmin time showed 28:40 and Julie's watch showed 28:41, so we're going to go with 28:40 as our official time. Unfortunately, RunFar, who did the timing, seems to have had problems with our chips, so we're not sure what our official time is.

By the way, the 28:40 is a new PR for Julie, topping her previous mark of 28:48, which was set just one week ago.

Running Wisdom In 13 Words Or Less

Posted on 4/25/2008 to Health and Fitness

This week's "Take it and Run Thursday" topic at Runner's Lounge is to share some running wisdom in 13 words or less. Here's mine:

Just get out there. Nobody says that they wish they hadn't run today.


Whenever you think you can't, know that you can, and that you will.


Posted on 4/23/2008 to My Weight Loss Journey

185—that's been my long-range weight goal ever since registering on back in November 2007. Now, just 5 months later, that's my weight—from a recent high of 231 in mid-November. In 5 months. Without "dieting." Pretty good, huh?

I am writing up something a little longer (ok, a lot longer) that will go into more detail about my weight loss journey—where I've come from...where I am going...what it means to me, etc. So be looking for that in the near future.

Now, it is time to start settling into my new body, and let my old skin catch up to my new body.

My First Group Yoga Class

Posted on 4/22/2008 to Health and Fitness

If you recall, Julie and I recently completed 3 in-home yoga classes with our friend and coworker, Beth, of Laughing Ladybug Yoga. Since finishing those classes, Julie has started attending the yoga classes at our local LA Fitness at least once a week, but I've been hesitant to join her, and the schedule just hasn't cooperated--until last night.

Last night I attended yoga at our LA Fitness, along with Julie. This marks my very first out-of-the-home yoga class, and the first yoga class where it was more than just Julie and me. I had been hesitant to attend one of these classes because I didn't want to feel out of place amongst a bunch of super-bendy longtime yoga folks. As it turns out, there were a few super-bendy folks, but most people were not much more flexible than me, and I was able to do all of the poses, even employing some of the advanced techniques (at least for a few moments, anyway).

As with my previous yoga classes (all 3 of them), I found the class to be challenging, but not overly so. I was definitely glad that I'd had the earlier classes with Beth, where she was able to take the time to show us proper form and explain the "whys and hows." Otherwise, I might've been lost. I think I'll plan to go again.

2008 Fort Worth Zoo Run Run Results

Posted on 4/19/2008 to Health and Fitness

As I mentioned in my post earlier this morning, today was the Fort Worth Zoo Run Run, and Julie and I ran the timed 5K. We don't have the official results, but I do have my Garmin Forerunner results (started and stopped on the timing mats).

According to my Forerunner 305, my time was 26:31.13, with an average pace of 8:34/mile, which is an average speed of 7 mph. My average heart rate was 182 bpm, with a max heart rate of 196 bpm, which came right at the end, along with my fastest speed--10.7 mph. Here are my splits:

  • Mile 1: 8:49.86 - 174 bpm
  • Mile 2: 8:44.80 - 185 bpm
  • Mile 3: 8:21.45 - 187 bpm
  • Final .1: 0:35.02 - 193 bpm

This was a tough race, with a lot of people, lots of kids, strollers (fortunately most of the strollers were towards the back), and hills. It was also a fun race, as the early part of the course wound right through the zoo, and included runner taunting monkeys.

Overall, I am very pleased with my time. It definitely indicates that my training is working, as I've now dropped my 5K time significantly in the last few months:

Julie ran her first sub 30 minute 5K! We're estimating her time in the range of 29:15-29:45. Hopefully the official results will be posted later today and we can verify the actual time.

Next Saturday is the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Please join our team or make a contribution!

Racing With A Garmin Forerunner

Posted on 4/19/2008 to Health and Fitness

It's racing day today--the Fort Worth Zoo Run Run 5K/10K. Julie and I are doing the 5K. This will be the 3rd race that I've run since buying my Garmin Forerunner 305, and I am curious as to how other people with Forerunners utilize them during a race?

In the previous two races (the Cowtown 5K and Bunny Boogie), I've set a quick workout for pace and distance. The allows me to just worry about hitting start, and then I keep the display on pace to make sure I'm not too fast and not too slow. Of course, if the course is off a little, or if I am not running perfect tangents, then the Forerunner will finish the set distance somewhere besides the actual finish line. So far, though, my Forerunner times have been pretty close to my actual finish times. However, in today's race, I am thinking of just hitting start and then manually stopping it at the finish line.

How do you race with your Garmin Forerunner, or other, similar device?

The Week Of A 5K Race

Posted on 4/17/2008 to Health and Fitness

What do you do the week of a race? Specifically, what do you do the week of a 5K race? Do you reduce your miles? If so, how? When? Do you take the day or two before the race off from running? Do you change anything else--cross-training, eating, etc.?

I've now run 3 5K races, and I have one this Saturday, and one next Saturday, and I am still not sure what to do the week of a race!

In the week before my first race, I finished up the Couch-to-5K Running Plan on the Wednesday before the Jingle Bell Run (a Saturday race), so I took Thursday and Friday off from running, though I did do upper body strength training in the early afternoon the day of the race (evening race).

In the week before my second race, the Cowtown 5K, I also planned on two days off before the race. My training program at the time, Hal Higdon's Intermediate 5K Training Program, had a 5K test race scheduled for that weekend with 2 days of rest prior to the race. The day before the race I did an upper body strength training workout, along with several pick-ups between my strength training sets. I ran the Cowtown in 28:45, which was nearly 2.5 minutes faster than my Jingle Bell Run time. Of course my training and weight loss played a large part in that improvement.

In the week before my most recent race, the Bunny Boogie, I also had two days of rest scheduled prior to race day. On Thursday before the race I did upper body strength training and yoga. Friday was a complete rest day (with a couple of margaritas, wine, and Tex-Mex for dinner). Of course, I set a PR and came in 2nd in my age-group.

So what's the proper approach? We've had some pretty nasty storms blow in this evening, so I am not likely to run today, making two days off since my last run, though I did do some cross-training yesterday. I don't really want to go four days between my last run and the race, so I think I'll go out for an easy 4 miles tomorrow early. Tell me what you think.

Getting Ready For The Zoo Run Run

Posted on 4/16/2008 to Health and Fitness

In preparation for the Fort Worth Zoo Run Run, which is mostly uphill through the first half or more, I decide to use today's "easy" 5 mile run for some practice on the hills.

I did an out-and-back, which was flat through the first 1 mile, and then uphill for the next 1.25 miles. The plan was to stay close to my training pace of 11:04 going out, and then just let myself go on the downhill stretches on the way back. I think it worked out pretty well. Overall, I did 5 miles @ 10:24/mile pace, with an average heart rate of 155 bpm. My average speed was 5.8 mph, my max speed was 8.7 mph, and my max heart rate was 180.

Here are the splits:

  1. 10:58.89 - 139 bpm
  2. 10:42.79 - 152 bpm
  3. 10:06.13 - 159 bpm
  4. 9:50.02 - 165 bpm
  5. 10:26.92 - 163 bpm

All in all, it was a good run. I was actually surprised to see that my average heart rate was only 155 bpm. I expected something in the 160s, just because it was a little warm, a lot windy, and I was pushing a little.

The Zoo Run Run is this Saturday morning. The plan is to run it with Julie. Hopefully I can set a nice pace for her early, and help her get a PR, or maybe we'll just have some fun!

Running Wild

Posted on 4/14/2008 to Health and Fitness

Yesterday was the end of week 3 of my current training program, which was generated using Runner's World's Smart Coach program. Yesterday, of course, was also my long run--9 miles, for the first time.

Julie and I took the boys down to her parents' house in Houston this weekend for the "Wild Game" dinner, which is held each spring at at her parents' beach house. The Wild Game dinner consists of lots of food, adult beverage, good times, and sun (most years, anyway). This year was no different. Though the dinner was on Saturday, my long run was in doubt, as a day of eating, drinking, and lounging in the sun is not always conducive to running. That, and it's a 5+ hour drive back home. However, Julie had other plans.

Once everyone was up and moving, and the boys had been fed (donuts, of course), Julie arranged for her sister and family to come over--their 3 boys to play with our 2--while we went for our run. I do love her! We headed out for a nice, relatively flat couple of loops in the neighborhoods around her parents' house.

Julie's run was a 10K, her longest distance to date, so I paced her around at my training pace, which is currently 11:04/mile for long runs. She not only held on, but she ran it easily. In the final 1.2 miles of her 10K, I inched the pace up ever so slightly (unintentionally), and thought that I might drop her. But as we closed in on the final half mile, she pulled herself back up to me, even as I picked up the pace a little more. By the time we hit the 6 mile mark, and then 6.22, she was running strong, and right along side of me to finish her first 10K!

Once Julie finished her 10K and began the walk back to the house, I surged ahead for the final 2.78 miles of my 9 mile run. I've got to say that up until this point I was feeling really good, and it actually took a little effort to hold myself back. However, that all changed as I finished up mile 8 and headed into mile 9. As with previous long runs, the first week of upping the long run mileage, I feel very strong all the way through the run, right until I am about to head into the new distance, then it all hits me at once. Fortunately I have been able to regroup, refocus, and push through the last mile or so without burning myself out. Of course it helped knowing that the next time I do this distance, I will own it.

In the end, I did my 9 miles at an 11:00/mile pace, for a total time of 1:39:17.


Posted on 4/10/2008 to Health and Fitness

This past Monday I ordered ChiRunning from Amazon. It arrived Tuesday afternoon, and Tuesday evening I went out for 5 miles at an 11:04/mile pace which turned into 5 miles at a 9:34/mile pace, while I attempted to implement the lean.

The goal of ChiRunning is to provide runners with effortless, injury-free running technique that focuses on the pleasure of movement rather than on struggling and battling to run further and faster.

Created by Danny Dreyer, ChiRunning is meant to lower your perception of effort, regardless of how fast you're going. This is where the lean comes in (at the ankles, not the waist), allowing the body to work with--rather than against--gravity.

Of course there is a lot more to ChiRunning, and if you're not familiar with the ChiRunning technique, I encourage you to read more about it on, and to pick up a copy of the book.

As for my run, I already mentioned that it was a schedule "easy" 5 miles @ 11:04/mile, and that I actually did it @ 9:34/mile, but I didn't mention the specifics of my experience using ChiRunning...

I certainly didn't set out to go at a pace that much fast than I was supposed to run--it just sort of happened. After completing my initial mile in a comfortable 10:16, I hit a nice downhill stretch early in mile 2, and the next thing I know, I've completed mile 2 in 9:26. Not wanting to burn myself out on this run, I tried to back off a bit in mile 3 and turned in a 9:39 pace. At this point I just gave in and ran mile 4 faster than any of the other miles @ 8:50. It was sometime during mile 4 that I decided that I would turn this run into a 3-mile tempo run, with mile 1 as my warm up and mile 5 as my cool down. And I did slow down in mile 5, to a 9:35 pace.

I am not going to say that this was all due to ChiRunning, after all, I only looked at a very small portion of the book before heading out on my run. However, I will say that it helped. Sure, I was working hard, but not as hard as I have in the past to turn in that sort of pace over an extended distance. Without implementing the lean, I am sure that pace would've caused my average heart rate to be in the 180s, rather than the 166 bpm that it was.

Head on over to Amazon or your local bookstore and take a look at ChiRunning.

Tequila And Salsa

Posted on 4/10/2008 to Eats and Drinks

For those of you who cannot get enough tequila or salsa, I'd like to remind you of my latest website: Tequila and Salsa Party. The Tequila and Salsa Party website is dedicated to, of all things, tequila and salsa--and consuming them with good friends. The website was created as a companion to the Tequila and Salsa Party, which we've held for the last two years.

The Tequila and Salsa Party website contains not only information on our annual party, but also information on tasty salsas and tequila, as well as Mexican food that goes great with both.

Make sure you head on over to the site, and subscribe to the feed for the latest in tequila and salsa.

What A Difference A Week Makes

Posted on 4/6/2008 to Health and Fitness

Just finished up my long run for this week--an 8 mile loop around the neighborhood, same as last Sunday. This time I owned it, instead if it owning me.

For both runs I was to do 8 miles at an 11:04/mile pace. Last Sunday, I did my 8 miles in 1:35:57, for an 11:59/mile pace, with an average HR of 171. Today, I did my 8 miles in 1:28:02, for an 11:00/mile pace, with an average HR of 162. Last Sunday, my HR averaged 173 by mile 3, and I had to slow down dramatically just to keep it from going much higher. Today, my HR didn't average 173 until mile 7, and I was able to maintain my 11:00/mile pace through until the end.

Here's a link to a dot race between the last two long runs: What a difference a week makes!

Failed Run

Posted on 4/4/2008 to Health and Fitness

Yesterday was my first tempo run of my new training program. It called for a total of 5 miles, including warm up and cool down, with 3 miles @ 9:28/mile. It did not go well.

First, let me get the excuses out of the way—it was warm (mid-70s), it was humid (strong chance of thunderstorms), and it was windy (S 20 MPH, gusts to 30 MPH). Also, miles 1 and 2 of the 3 mile tempo run were too fast: 9:22/1st mile, and 9:16/2nd mile. Mile 3 ended up at a 9:32 pace. I only did .18 mile of my 1 mile cool down, and I did that walking.

This is the first time I haven't completed a scheduled run, and it really bothered me yesterday. Okay, the thunderstorm that blew in as I was in the last quarter mile of my tempo run did have a little to do with me not finishing the full 5 miles, but still... I even tried telling myself HTFU!

Komen Tarrant County Race for the Cure

Posted on 4/2/2008 to Health and Fitness

I am now officially registered for the Komen Tarrant County Race for the Cure 5K. Julie has done this race a few times, while I did the race with her back in April of 2006, though we registered for the fun run/walk, not the competitive 5K. This year we've both registered for the competitive 5K.

Please help us raise money to fund education, screening and treatment programs and support the national search for a cure. If you'd like to donate, or join our team, please visit my personal Tarrant County Race for the Cure page.

My Original Traineo Goal

Posted on 4/2/2008 to Health and Fitness

While I might have started running consistently on October 1st, 2007 when I began the Couch-to-5K Training Program, my whole journey to better health didn't really get going until I came across the web site

Traineo is a weight loss and fitness community that tries to differentiate itself by making motivation, support and accountability a key ingredient to the web site. Here's what they say on their site:

Motivation, Support and Accountability are the keys to achieving a weight loss and fitness goal. Our mission is to create the most effective weight loss and fitness community on the web by combining the latest software technology with sound information and services from the world’s leading health and fitness experts.

traineo is the culmination of over three years of development, testing and focus group studies in partnership with leading experts in weight loss, health, sports and fitness.

Quite honestly, I stumbled upon traineo the week before Thanksgiving 2007 while I was reading some running blogs. One of the blogs had this "I'm getting fit on traineo" badge, which I thought looked cool and interesting, so I clicked on it. The next thing I know, I'm registering and being asked to enter a weight goal. I had no idea what to enter, and honestly, I hadn't been very good lately about keeping, much less meeting weight goals. So out of my...ahem...hat, I pull out 185 by the end of March 2008 as my goal. I figured "what the heck do I have to lose, besides the weight."

Well, here we are on April 2, 2008, and while I didn't meet my goal weight of 185 by the end of March, I did get down to 192--that's a weight loss of 33 lbs since setting my traineo goal, and an overall weight loss of 39 lbs from my recent high, which was a little earlier in November 2007.

Since I haven't met my weight goal yet, I created a new goal, and that is to get down to 185 my the Komen Race for the Cure 5K on April 26th.

Fitness Goals For The Rest Of 2008

Posted on 4/2/2008 to Health and Fitness

  • Reach my initial Traineo Goal of weighing 185.
  • Finish my first half marathon.
  • Continue running as long as I am enjoying it.
  • Maintain an active lifestyle.
  • Continue healthier eating.
  • Find cross-training activities that I enjoy.
  • Reassess goals every 8 weeks.

Look for a blog post on each of these topics soon.